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FIFPro, the worldwide representative organisation for 65,000 professional footballers, is distributing a smartphone app to combat match-fixing after University of Liverpool research recommended its use.
The Red Button app enables players to anonymously report match-fixing approaches. It is being made available by FIFPro and its member player unions for professional footballers. Reports will be sent to a local authority, such as a law-enforcement agency or police. As part of a collaboration agreement, FIFPro can send reports to FIFA to investigate.
The app is being endorsed following an assessment by Dr Babatunde Buraimo and Professor David Forrest, in the University of Liverpool’s Management School.
Describing the app as “effective” and “very straightforward to use”, Professor Forrest said: “I can assure players that the app is safe.
“If you want your report to be anonymous, you can make that choice and be sure that the technology prevents anyone from finding out who made the report. Even if your phone is lost or stolen, there will be no trace of you having used the app.”
The University led assessment identified several key features of the app prior to recommendation. It notes that Interpol validated the Red Button app after its experts were unable to hack into it and obtain information about users; that it is easy to use; that is only used by players so should improve the quality of information shared; and that reports are filtered through a third party independent of the sport. Crucially, the app is being distributed by FIFPro’s affiliated player unions.
Professor Forrest said: “I urge all players to make sure to keep the app installed on their phone.
“If you ever have concerns to pass on, it will be there as a resource to be used to protect your own career and to make a contribution to safeguarding sport.
“Reporting your suspicions is something you owe to football and to the fans, but is vital also for protecting your own career and reputation.”
Players are also now able to upload images and audio and video recordings when they report, following a recommendation in the University report.
Under FIFA rules, players are obliged to report any match-fixing approach or potentially face a multi-year ban. FIFPro’s collaboration with FIFA means that if a player uses the Red Button app, FIFA considers the report to be valid.
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